Tag Archives: facebook

instagram photos of you cookie if emily postedAs of yesterday, Instagram added PHOTOS OF YOU, which means you can now tag the people you’re brunching with in the photo of your eggs benedict. It seems Mark Zuckerberg’s assurances that Instagram would not become Facebook were something we weren’t supposed to remember?

In writing If Emily Posted, I often clip announcements like Zuckerberg’s billion dollar Instagram buy or a site’s Terms of Service to refer to later. I was kicking myself for misplacing this one because Zuckerberg’s Timeline post link no longer works, and I could have sworn that in it he said something reassuring about Instagram not becoming Facebook.

I was only frustrated for ten seconds or so before I remembered that this is the internet.

I googled and found two sources I trust, The New York Times and The Guardian newspapers, quoted the statement. There were the words I remembered:

“We’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently.”

(Oh, Mark. Didn’t anyone tell you that Facebook is forever?)

Some people might think tagging is a brilliant idea. We’ve been doing this by leaving handles in comments since the site began. Is there really any difference?



By adding this tagging feature, IG will notify you of every tag – and then you can opt to manually OK them or let whomever tags you do so automatically.

What was once a social media platform that didn’t have follow-back pressure, is now nudging users to follow more. Connect more.

(If someone has a private account, Instagram states they will have the same privacy as always. And the tab under which PHOTOS OF YOU will display doesn’t go live until May 16th, giving you time to play with it.)

As Tech Crunch stated yesterday:

“Each time you get notified that you’ve been tagged, you’re likely to immediately go check out the photo on Instagram. It’s this same viral reengagement technique that helped Facebook grow so quickly in its early days. Instagram already has over 100 million users, but this could get them spending more time with the app. It also might draw in new users who want to be able to see where they’ve been tagged.”

Instagram is different things to different people, but one very cool thing has always been that it didn’t ask much of users other than to respect one another’s intellectual property.

Share a little, share a lot. Use it all day long to post photos and comment, or post shots and nothing more. Or comment and don’t take any photos. It’s your app. Make it work for you.

Some users don’t even use their real names. Either as a handle or in their profile, and that’s totally kosher, too. When a bunch of people are tagged in a comment, you don’t necessarily know if they were in the shots. And if the person is linking it to Twitter, the handles might not even match. Which isn’t exactly ideal for the data seekers.


On their blog, Instagram explains that the new tagging feature lets you ‘“add any account on Instagram, whether it’s your best friend, favorite coffee shop or even that adorable dog you follow.”

And on their other blog, for businesses, they make sure brands know “Photos of You gives you a new way to curate and share the photos that best showcase your brand as documented by your biggest fans.”

RULE: I think it’s fair to say that if you use public Instagram and tag a brand, you’re basically giving them the OK to use your images.

Which is why when someone said to me that they were expecting ads to be the next announcement, I kind of felt like this was heading that direction.

Photos of You Facebook IEP

A reminder to tag is another way to data mine.

Companies can see what people are trying on in the dressing room at Target, what time of day they buy it, and if they geotag, just which Target store they bought it from. They can then visit that person’s stream and see the way they decorate their home, where they like to travel or go out for dinner.

We’re the product.

And that’s OK as long as we know we are.


A funny thing that happened on the way to becoming a regular Instagrammer is that I began to appreciate all of the people with a bazillion followers who weren’t following anyone. Those who simply enjoyed sharing their beautiful images.

But now, with every photo taken, a little icon will remind users that it’s not enough to share your view. The Facebookification of Instagram replaces it’s laid back style with a nagging voice telling everyone to mingle more.

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but add a few more.

In the deleted Facebook post about the Instagram purchase, Zuckerberg wrote:

“We need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.”

And I think that’s why PHOTOS OF YOU is a sign Facebook is out of touch with what makes Instagram so popular. People don’t go there to find pictures of themselves. They go there to find pictures of the world around them.

For a social sharing site, Instagram is pretty much devoid of the cringe-worthy stuff people post on Facebook daily. Like an unwritten rule in the TOS, friends don’t let friends post awful photos on Instagram. And especially not on #ThrowbackThursday.


NOTE: Since writing this, Instagram has explained that updates to the updates are being made. I’ll write more on this after the holidays, once plans are clear. At this point, what is impoertant is that people are aware of what they have always agreed to in the TOS, things that are no different in the updates but have suddenly upset many. By using Instagram, and most any social sharing platform, you give them certain rights to your content.

On Monday, Instagram offered users a look at the upcoming changes to the Terms of Service. Users were not pleased. Instagram always had rights to images, so was it the TOS wording or a TOS carrying Facebook’s legacy of privacy concerns that made the new fine print so concerning? In less than 24 hours, Instagram issued a statement the TOS changes weren’t set in stone. It reminded me of things I’d seen before. On Facebook.

In May of this year, I wrote several posts after screenshots of Instagram’s TOS went viral. The TOS had not changed. At all. But many people were getting their first look at what they had agreed to long before. They’d just never read it.

The unveiled TOS, which goes into effect January 16, included language that informed users “a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take.” (THIS HAS BEEN AMENDED)

While the TOS has always provided them the right to use images, the updates had everyone from The New York Times to WIRED to the Twitterverse attempting to interpret the new legalese.

As a reader of fine print, I went to the source. Near the top, the update states the following in ALL CAPS bold letters:



Much of the TOS was standard, but the paragraph under RIGHTS stating “you agree that a business or other entity may pay us,” to use your info didn’t sit well with many users. Some it felt an invasion of privacy (somewhat unfounded since they agreed to allow them some use of images the moment they joined Instagram). Others didn’t like hearing this would be done “without any compensation.” As a photographer who often argues for the importance of copyright respect online, I think this gave people some understanding of what content creators feel when they find their work unlawfully pinned or used without permission across the web. Only there isn’t anything illegal here. Permission is granted.

For some, this was the first realization of what they agree to share with most social sharing sites, but IG used wording that puzzled even those who understand what rights regularly we waive. In the next section it stated:

“You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.”

Undisclosed ads? This didn’t seem right. While many users are still clicking and agreeing without reading, there is now a large community, much of which I see in the blogosphere, that not only read TOS but understand things like FTC disclosure. The FTC and Facebook don’t have the greatest track record. (THIS REMAINS UNCHANGED IN TOS UPDATED)

Just over a year ago, Facebook settled with the FTC after “charges that it deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public.”

Is it surprising that people read the new legalese and imagine how far Facebook could take things? Show us we’re wrong, Mr. Zuckerberg.

Or should I say, Mr. Systrom. In a post on the IG blog Tuesday, explaining that they’re stepping back to reconsider the new TOS, it wasn’t Zuckerberg talking. He’d been the one to make the announcements about what he was doing with Instagram when Facebook bought it in April, but this post was by Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram.

It answered a question friends and I considered just hours prior. How must the founders feel about the Facebook-ing of their platform? Perhaps they’d walked away knowing this was inevitable or worried as they watched their devoted users unhappiness. What never crossed our minds was that they would be part of these changes.

Instagram has it’s issues, but for the most part it is all based on a users trusting one another often with their most intimate moments. They welcome them other users their homes, to their celebrations and their sorrows. Amidst daily outfit posts and food styled to the nth degree, there are births and breakups, school plays and weddings. No one adds a filter to these moments with the intent to have them used without their permission. And now, Instagram is asking permission to profit on it.

The number of users making plans to go elsewhere led them to respond rather quickly. On Monday, I tweeted several times that Copygram makes it very easy to download a zip file of all of your Instagrams. Yesterday, The New York Times wrote that Copygram “estimated that 10,000 people were using the exporting tool, and 1.5 million photographs had been backed up.” In a day that was huge for Copygram and other download sites, but the article reminds us that Instagram has over 100 million users.

Maybe this comes at a turning point in social media. Perhaps Instagram underestimates the intelligence of its users. In the next 30 days, we’ll see how much changes.

Many people (myself included) are more than willing to pay a monthly fee for an ad-free Instagram or have banner ads. I wonder if the amount of money they could make with subscribers or banner ads isn’t as enticing as the potential for what our data can bring them.

When Facebook purchased Instagram, I couldn’t understand the price tag. I hadn’t considered the value in it. What we’re eating, what we’re wishing we could buy, what color is on our nails, what shoes are on our feet, where we’re vacationing – Instagram is place where we share what we like. Data mining, Facebook’s greatest resource, is all about figuring out what we like. Valuable, yes. Maybe priceless.

Is data mining bad? Not inherently. Is it all good? I don’t think so, as I explained when I wrote about filter bubbles and tailored searches. We need opt outs.

I think many with public accounts didn’t consider the level of private they share publicly until Monday. As I wrote in May, photos of their kids in the bath or their grandmother’s funeral aren’t things they’d make a hundred thousand copies of at Costco and hand out to strangers, but virtually they do. When it becomes possible that those moments could be seen as assets, emotions run high.

People argue whether it’s right that these things can be monetized, but no one is forcing anyone to share this way. Yet people struggle because we like the filters and we like the followers. Both do things cognitively that makes us happy.

Online we justify so many things that we never would in real life. The speed at which social media moves has us so excited to test and try, to not feel left out or worse, out of touch, so we click and agree with abandon. Maybe Facebook has overstepped so much that we now need to pull away while we seek to find out how much of ourselves we’re willing to offer in exchange for pretty little pictures.

The homepage of Facebook says, “Sign up. It’s free and always will be.” Free, it seems, is a relative term. The issue isn’t all black and white, but we can’t put a pretty filter on it and expect it to be fixed either.